The prestigious 2020 NatWest everywoman of the Year Award was presented, on 3rd December, to Rachel Watkyn, founder of Sussex-based Tiny Box Company whose story of triumph over adversity unanimously inspired the 2020 judges.
The 18th annual NatWest everywoman Awards celebrated the UK’s most inspiring female entrepreneurs, recognising their outstanding achievements.
Rachel Watkyn said: “What a fantastic accolade to the entire ‘Tiny’ team! Well done to every one of them. I hope this helps entrepreneurs understand that you can’t always choose what happens to you, but you have a choice on how to move forward.”
Rachel has established a mentoring scheme for struggling businesses and has this advice for budding entrepreneurs:
“If you really want to do it just face the fear! But have enough self courage to know your own strengths and weaknesses and seek help to plug those gaps you know you can’t fulfil.”
Trauma and loss in her personal life prepared Rachel for the struggles of business.
Rachel spent her formative years in care before returning to her family and experiencing the effects of alcohol and domestic abuse.
Whilst working in Sierra Leone during the military coup, the extreme poverty she witnessed drove her vision for a fairtrade business.
This began as a jewellery company, but her struggle to find recycled and environmentally friendly packaging sparked the idea for Tiny Box Company, supplying businesses with aesthetically pleasing and ethical packaging.
Against a backdrop of difficulties including cancer, fire, flooding, an IT hack, and now Covid-19, she has grown Tiny Box to a £6.5m annual revenue and a team of 85 employees.
In an extraordinary year, the 2020 everywoman winners span multiple industries including technology, fashion, beauty, medicine and hospitality, but all are united in one common purpose – to leave the world a better place than they found it.
Speaking about the winners, Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder at everywoman comments: “Self-employment has started to decline for men, but not for women. Despite this, only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, a gender gap equivalent of 1.1m missing businesses and a potential value add of £250bn to the UK economy.
“Now more than ever, it is critical to address this and showcase how successful and resilient so many female-owned businesses are. We congratulate the 2020 winners and applaud their incredible achievements.”